Thursday, May 24, 2018

Interrupted Fern

Temps in the 80's and it's humid.  Just as I won't turn the heat on in the month of June, I refuse to turn the air-conditioning on in May.  (Of course, we've never needed air-conditioning in May before.)  Indy and I went for a walk late when it was cooler.   We were out by the wild plums when I heard her give a growl.  I turned and there was a big coyote coming out of the trees to meet-and-greet.  Reminded me that the Collegetown news tonight had warned pet owners to keep their dogs on a leash because of coyotes and bear.  Maybe the dogs that look like dust mops would be in danger but Indy was having none of the coyote's nonsense and sent him running w/ a couple of barks.  Kept hearing booms from somewhere to the south.  I timed them and it was one blast every 100 seconds or so.  Called up my neighbor.  Maureen said neighbor Wester had a 'cannon' going off to keep the geese out of his newly planted cornfield.  Wester's place is clear on the other side of the swamp.   Even w/ the trees and bushes leafed out that sound carrys far.  At least tomorrow on our early morning walk through the swamp I'll know that we aren't in danger of being shot or blown up.  Sat out on the deck after our walk.  I picked ticks off my clothes while watching the hummingbirds swoop and hover in aerial battles.  I put out five feeders this year hoping that would cut down on the fighting but the little birds are just as territorial.   Always something going on in the countryside.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Feel like I've spent the entire day at the library.  Went in at 10:00 when it opened for the weekly Coffee and Conversation get-together.  That finishes at 11:30.  I was reminded as I left that the volunteer meeting began a 1:00.  Went home, made some lunch, watered the plants, and took off again for the library.  A rep from the main office of the library system that we belong to gave us a training session about inter-library loans and some of the lesser known access capabilities of their computer system.   It was a good meeting but I was dead tired for some reason.  A little after 3:00 when the meeting broke up I went home again, set an alarm, and quickly fell asleep for 30 minutes.  Woke up and it was back to the library for my front desk shift after first stopping off for a Pepsi and a copy of the weekly paper.   I closed up the library at 7:00.  It could be I overloaded on the number of people I had to be pleasant to today.   Think Indy and I will spend the remaining daylight hours on the deck.  She doesn't care if I smile or not.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Orange-belted bumblebee on Apple blossoms

I picked up a list of the "100 books to read before going to college" when I was in high school.  So I did. (Well most of them.)  TV Public Broadcasting tonight introduced their list of 'America's 100 best-loved novels'.  Indy and I got in from our walk a little late so I missed the first part of the show.  Maybe they explained why nothing from Shakespeare, Chaucer, Verne, or Poe made the list.  How can 'Fifty Shades of Grey' be included but not 'The Scarlet Letter'.  The 'Twilight' series is there but not 'Dracula' nor the 'Sherlock Holmes' stories.   On the plus side Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, and Isaac Asimov have books mentioned.  You can vote for your fav book on their website once a day until the Fall when they announce which book of those 100 got the most votes.  Nice that you can vote for multiple books since there are so many great ones in their own way.  Tonight I voted for 'Their Eyes Were Watching God'.  I think the next book I check out from the library will be one on the list that I haven't yet read - but it won't be the books in the 'Left Behind' series.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sunset over the ski hill

 I promised myself while I was working that the day would come when I could sleep in.  No more alarm clocks.  No more beepers. No sleeping on my office couch while waiting for a crucial computer job to finish or because someone was required to be on-site.  No driving to work in rush hour traffic or, later, dodging deer.  What I didn't realize then was, even retired, I would still be so ripping tired every night.  Guess that's a good thing though.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lilacs and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

I usually take the back way through the hills when I'm coming home from Church city.  I don't often see traffic on the road but I did see three cars bunched up far ahead of me.   I came around a corner and saw the first two cars going on but the last one had turned cross ways in the road and a man in a uniform had a hand up toward me.  He made a stirring motion which I interpreted as turn around and go back so I did.  Figured the little caravan had all been police cars on their way to a fire? accident?  It wasn't until tonight when I was checking bird houses that I saw my brother Russell who filled me in on the fugitive murderer being hunted in the hills.  Russell said the police had the road blocked for a short time by his place.   Of course that started me wondering if I was the fugitive what would I do.   I'd stay away from the summer/hunting cabins sprinkled through the area - police know them and will be checking them first.  Police could bring in infrared cameras.  However the hills are an undulating granite landscape covered w/ a high canopy of leaves and thick underbrush that would help disperse a heat signature not to mention all of the false positives caused by bear and deer.  Dogs would be the biggest problem but even they could be fooled.  I think I'd find a rocky overhang, move around only at sunrise and sunset, and eat off the land for awhile.  Interesting mind game.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


I checked the weather report - cloudy but in the upper 70's.  I cleaned up around the peonies in the morning - they are just poking out of the ground.  Indy and I took off for a walk through the swamps.    Found these tiny miterwort which are always a challenge to photograph because of their size.  Back home I started up the mower for the first time this season.  My mowing job was pretty haphazard.  Found some places I'll have to fix where there are ruts or banked gravel from the winter plowing.  Mowed around two patches of pussytoes and one of violets.  By the next time I mow they will be finished blooming.  Drove right over the wild strawberries though.  They are creepers and short enough that the mower went over the top of their blooms.  The north wind picked up and the temp dropped.  Brought in my potted plants and threw old sheets over the ones I left out on the deck.  Doubt we will get to freezing but it will be close.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Helios rising

Blitzen jumped up on the computer desk and mewed.  Her signal for me to throw a ball for her to chase.  I obligingly got up and rolled it into the living room.  Indy was sprawled out on the floor and the ball bounced to a stop by her nose.  While Dunder will play w/ the dog, Blitzen keeps a respectful distance.  She padded back to me crying the ball was out of bounds.  This was easy to fix.  I let Indy out for her morning perimeter check.  A coyote has been coming in close lately and Indy likes to make sure the area is marked as a keep-out zone.  Blitzen now grabbed the ball and brought it back for me to retoss.  This went on for awhile until she tired out.   Indy finished her patrol and was at the back door.  I let her in and she pushed her nose into my knees.  Her signal that she wanted petting.  I obliged.  Dunder strolled over to us, flopped down, and rolled over on his back.  He wanted in on some of that petting action.  I use treats to train my pets.  They train me by acting so blasted cute.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wild plum and crabapple blossoms

 As I said, tick season has begun.  After tonight's walk I had 12 on me.  Don't forget to do tick checks every night if you live in an area where they are.  The proper way to do a tick check is to take off every bit of clothing and mound it up in the bathtub.  Ticks like to climb and you'll be able to pick them off the top later or you'll see them if they go walk-about on the tub's surface.   Next check everywhere on your skin.  They especially like folds so make sure you check the back of your knees, belly button, and ears.  Comb you hair forward over the sink in case there are any lurking there.  Finally, put on fresh clothes.  Never wear the clothes you took off until they've been laundered.  I bit of a bother but once you get used to it less than 5 minutes total.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Song Sparrow (I think)

Figured the tulips I brought into the library last week would have faded by now.  I had to trim out the little plum trees that have established themselves in the stockade so made a nice arrangement out of their blooms: spring-like, fragrant and rather well done (if I say so myself).  Took it in this morning when I attended Coffee and Conversation at the library.  I found out there was no volunteer for the afternoon shift and this afternoon would be the last Lego Club meeting until school started next September.  I started my shift early to give the librarian time to get ready for the onslaught on kids.  She told me to use up all of the remaining snacks so the animal crackers were flying.  I let the kids have seconds if they asked and the teenage volunteers snarfed down whatever was left.  Tonight's walk w/ Indy was after dark but light enough still to see that the lilacs are getting ready to bloom.  Probably can make a bouquet of those for next week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spring Beauty and Sessile Bellwort

The spring ephemeral are flowering.  Spring ephemeral are plants which are among the first to bloom and then flower and foliage disappear until next year.  Here they are all small woodland plants.  They have adapted to grow, propagate, and build reserves for next year while the leaf canopy is still sparse and sunshine can reach the rich dark forest soil.  While some, like the spring beauty, absolutely carpet the woods, others, like the sessile bellwort, warrant walking slowly so you don't miss seeing a little treasure of the season.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Skunk Cabbage flowers

I didn't like all of the extra features cars came w/.  A car's only purpose was to get from point A to B reliably.  I resisted electric windows for a long time.  I hated SUV's since I couldn't see around the things on the freeway.   Spoilers on family cars were laughable (well, those still are).   Times have changed or I've gotten older or both.   I've come to really enjoy figuring out all of the gizmo's my car came w/. One of those is the moon roof.  Indy and I like to drive around w/ it open but I forgot to close it yesterday when we got home.  It rained today.  Fortunately not too long or too hard.  A towel was enough to dry and clean up everything.  Thank you Russell for telling me to go w/ leather seats!

Sunday, May 13, 2018


My sister Connie said she had so many things to do she started keeping a list of them on her kitchen counter.  I keep my list on a white board.  I need a list because (a) while working on one project I'll notice something else that should be done and (b) for someone who can forget why they walked into a room it's a good idea to have stuff written down.   After I got home from going to breakfast w/ friend Nancy, my white board informed me I needed to clean and refill the oriole and hummingbird feeders, water the plants, do a couple of wash loads and hang them out to dry, wash dishes, bake bread, and check bluebird houses.  Tonight those things have been accomplished.  Tomorrow I can get down to real work.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sunset clouds

Despite the light frost we had last night, the 'planting bug' is upon me and I visited another nursery this morning.  Picked up more potting soil and smelly herbs.  My friend Kris had told us about planting sweet smelling flowers near the door of one of her landscaping clients.  He was blind so she thought if he couldn't appreciate flower color he could enjoy their smell.  I always liked that idea.  Picked up mojito mint, strawberry mint, and spearmint plants - also lemon verbena, stevia, and lavender.  Planted them in little clay pots and placed them by my front door.  Will have to see if anyone remarks about how 'fresh' the countryside smells.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Trout Lily - both the yellow and white varieties

Went nursery-hopping w/ my friend Nancy this morning.   Drove north to a big nursery and stopped off on the way for breakfast at a greasy spoon (i.e. food good, ambiance poor).  Had meant to just pick up some already planted baskets but didn't see any that I liked so resorted back to getting individual plants to make my own.  Also brought home herbs, an inside plant, and my usual day lily.  Stopped off at another nursery for potting soil.  Once home I started getting dirty.  I need four pots for Memorial Day but made six so I have some options on which flowers look best by then.  Potted the herbs and repotted a few of the geraniums I overwintered.  Tonight I'm out of potting soil and I can think of a couple of more plants I could use.  Looks like another nursery visit tomorrow.